What is it?

Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a vascular condition in which a blot clot is formed in the hepatic portal vein. The hepatic portal vein delivers blood from the intestines to the liver. A thrombus can cause increased pressure in the portal vein system and reduce the blood supply to the liver, which can be even deadly. The cause for PVT is not known, but there are some risk factors including pancreatic inflammation, appendicitis, polycythemia, cancer, oral contraceptives, liver cirrhosis or other disease, trauma, injury, pregnancy, surgery and navel infection in infants.

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Signs & symptoms

People who suffer from portal vein thrombosis may be asymptomatic or present with upper abdominal pain, abdominal swelling or fever. Portal hypertension can present with varices in the esophagus or stomach which are prone to bleeding. Other symptoms may include spiking fevers, chills, blood vomiting, jaundice and bloody stools.


Diagnosis of portal vein thrombosis can be done with doppler ultrasonography that displays blood circulation, CT scan, abdominal MRI and angiography.


Treatment for portal vein thrombosis depends on the underlying cause. Acute PVT is treated with thrombolytic treatment. If the blood clot is formed gradually, anticoagulant drugs may be prescribed to stop it from growing and prevent any other clot formation. Beta blockers and octreotide can help treat esophageal varices by reducing the pressure in the portal vein. If other options fail, a surgery may be done to insert a showny between the portal and the hepatic vein- preventing excess bleeding and reducing the pressure. In cases of severe liver damage- a liver transplant may be an option.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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